Only five cards remain on the Colonial Downs season and the race is tight for both the trainer’s and jockey’s title. With Just Might’s narrow score in the Chesapeake Stakes yesterday, Michelle Lovell notched her 7th win and pulled one ahead of Colonial Downs stalwarts Hamilton Smith and Ferris Allen. Lurking just behind are Michael Stidham and Michael Trombetta with 5 wins apiece. As far as the rider’s title it seems to be narrowed down to two contenders with Horatio Karamanos and Joe Rocco Jr locked at 15 wins each. Horatio may get the upper hand after Tuesday’s card as he has eight mounts to Joe Rocco’s five.
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- Race 1: 3-2-5-8
- Race 2: 6-1-8-2
- Race 3: 8-6-2-3
- Race 4: 2-1-5-7
- Race 5: 6-3-11-5
- Race 6: 7-12-3-4
- Race 7: 3-5-1-2
- Race 8: 3-6-1-2
- Race 9: 4-8-1-3
Colonial Downs Race 1: Bobbini (#3)
There’s not much form to go off of in this bottom level maiden claimer to kick off the card, but what I do know is that I’m against the horses exiting the August 16th race here at Colonial which is the spot four of these eight fillies and mares come out of. That race was won by a 50-1 shot with an 81-1 shot rolling home in second before being disqualified for interference. The 45 TimeFormUS race rating it received is the lowest of the Colonial meet so far and one of the lower ones you’ll find anywhere. As for the other runners like I mentioned earlier, Hamilton Smith is right in the thick of the trainer’s title race and he sends out Celestial Diva (#5). While the human connections of this filly are the best in the field, only her debut saw her sport a single digit length margin of defeat so you have to question if there’s any real ability there. In a race like this I want to make sure I’m getting a price so I’m taking a shot with Bobbini (#3). I’m hoping this filly can find herself on the front end and with this group passing rivals may come at a premium. It’s possible Bobbini didn’t care for the sealed nature of the track she caught last Tuesday and in her prior dirt effort she was part of a fast pace going two turns at Charles Town, but still hung around late. There’s certainly no one to be scared of in this group and Bobbini might be prematurely disregarded due to her low-percentage jockey and trainer.
Colonial Downs Race 7: Hawkish (#3)
The seventh race on Tuesday’s program has a stakes feel to it with the type of depth on display in this seven horse affair. The conversation begins with the return of 2019 Virginia Derby winner English Bee (#1) to the site of his top career moment. This Graham Motion trainee comes in looking for a confidence booster and certainly is the class of the field, but doesn’t always finish the job as evidenced by his many losses by small margins of defeat. He’s likely to be bet down to a short price off his local glory and I think there are interesting alternatives to the favorite. The one I landed on is Hawkish (#3) who goes out for renown turf trainer Jimmy Toner. This bay gelding has shown flashes of real talent throughout his career with no better representation of that than the fact he was 5-1 in the 2018 Belmont Derby against the likes of Catholic Boy and Analyze It. Since then, he’s had his fair share of issues that have led to some poor performances and lengthy layoffs, but his most recent return to the races looked like a solid foundation to build off of. He made a strong 4-wide bid around the turn and took over before getting run down late. To me it looked like he was idling a bit once he made the lead, so it will be imperative for Forest Boyce to time this gelding’s run just right and not make the front too soon. One of the runners he beat home in that July 11th return was Vanzzy who came back to win on July 31st at Delaware Park defeating Angelus Warrior (#5). However, I think Angelus Warrior might have run the better race as he had to take up entering the clubhouse turn and still made a strong run down the lane. His race two back will put him right in the mix so I’d use him in exactas with the top pick.
Colonial Downs Race 8: Lilacs (#3)
The co-feature on Tuesday’s program is a mad dash going the flat five furlongs for these N2X fillies and mares. The horse to beat in this spot is certainly Sail On Ellen (#6) who goes out for Michelle Lovell coming off a facile score over this course last month. That run is certainly good enough to contend here, but it came in a scratched down five horse field where she was 3-5 so the waters are tougher here. Ghosting Kim (#1) is interesting for Ignacio “Nacho” Correas exiting those tough Churchill and Keeneland races as is the undefeated Aug Lutes (#2) who returns from a layoff for her first start at three and first start on grass. I’d be using all three in any multi-race exotics, but my top pick for this race is Lilacs (#3). I think this filly is improving for Kelsey Danner and really took a step forward first time on the turf in her last start. She broke about a half-length slow and then made an eye-catching bid for the lead entering the stretch to draw off and win by almost three. The manner in which she toyed with that Delaware field makes me think she can take another step forward and handle this tougher spot. If she breaks cleaner today, top jock Daniel Centeno can have her more forwardly placed if not outright on the lead.
Colonial Downs Race 9: Carson’s Kitten (#4)
Despite being open to fillies and mares three years old and upward, the finale on Tuesday will feature exclusively three year old fillies with an absence of any older counterparts. Contention runs deep in this bulky twelve horse field which is why I wouldn’t want to default to either of the Karen Godsey runners that figure to be short prices due to their limited number of defeats. Tidal Waters (#1) goes out for Michael Trombetta and Julien Pimentel who have teamed up to win five times this meet. Her one turf start was fine and she has speed to get position early, but she could take more money than she should due to the higher profile connections. A longshot I want to use somewhere is My Pharoah Lady (#8) who is a daughter of burgeoning turf sire American Pharoah. Although the John Ortiz barn has been chilly this meet, I’m interested to see what we get from this filly turning back in distance. She wasn’t completely disgraced in a really tough field at Churchill two back and in her last start on Opening Day here at Colonial she got cooked in a pace that fell apart late. Now she drops into a more reasonable maiden claiming spot and can potentially sit off the early speed. I’ll be using her, but my top pick is Carson’s Kitten (#4). All you have to do is turn to the 3rd race on Colonial’s Tuesday card to see that Jason McCutchen sent out a similar looking runner back on July 28th in Beach House who was also coming off a lengthy layoff into a maiden claiming affair. Teamed up with Joe Rocco Jr as well, that mare broke her maiden and came right back to graduate in restricted claiming event and is looking for three in a row on today’s card. I have a feeling that there are similar intentions here with this filly. She also drops out of maiden special weight company and possesses good early speed that is always dangerous in turf sprints. Her two-year-old figures already put her in the mix, so if she can take a step forward in her first start at three she can graduate for these connections as well.